It appears as if the momentum for Somaliland independence is building. In the upcoming meetings of the AU, where South Sudan will be given its full recognition of independence as a result of its successful plebiscite in January, it looks as if Somaliland has some growing support of its own bid for nationhood.
Let’s recap and review the existing support for Somaliland independence within Africa. For one, Ethiopia is a strong supporter of Somaliland independence, since Somaliland offers a reliable outlet to the sea for Ethiopian trade, and a way to prevent Somali irredentism within Ethiopia’s borders. Additionally, South Sudan has promised that it will give support to Somaliland independence as a sign of solidarity between a breakaway nation from tyranny (South Sudan) with a breakaway nation from tyranny and then anarchy (Somaliland). The two cases for statehood have much in common, and Somaliland’s case for statehood is even stronger than South Sudan’s. The support of these regional powers will keep Somaliland’s case in front of the African Union.
This is where the support from Kenya becomes very crucial. While South Sudan is a new state and Ethiopia has some rather obvious ulterior motives in supporting the breakup of Somalia, Kenya’s support is likely to be seen as more critical given its role as an East Asian economic power. The fact that Kenya’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Richard Onyonka  has boldly stated that Kenya will officially seek for the granting of Somaliland independent status within the African Union means that Somaliland has a few nations on its side, including a fair proportion of neighboring countries within East Africa.
Though the article does not say what development caused it to be ready to recognize Somaliland, it appears very likely that continued Somaliland stability along with Somaliland’s strong and notable anti-piracy efforts (including cooperation with Kenya and other nations in anti-piracy courts and prisons in Somaliland) has helped Kenya realize that having a strong independent regime in Hargesia that is opposed to Somali piracy is a smart move, in light of the continued absence of a strong and legitimate Somali central government capable of fighting piracy.
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